Open and Distance Learning as a Catalyst for Human Development

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF5 Sub-theme: Governance and social justice // In a lecture given as part of the ceremonies toward the award of the Nigerian National Merit Award to him 20 years ago, the late jurist and eminent scholar, Justice (Dr.) Taslim Olawale Elias reviewed the contribution of Nigerian lawyers to the development of legal and educational systems of their countries. In the lecture titled “Nigeria and Legal Development of Emergent Africa”, Elias said : // “ We ,must endeavour to seriously correct the mistakes of the past and plan with greater resolve and steadier vision to forge ahead. In order to be greater still in the days that lies ahead Nigeria needs men and women dedicated to the achievement of the high objective of unity and faith in the future greatness of our fatherland, a great deal depends upon quality and motivation of individual Nigerians”. // The emphasis of the late jurist was on the need to correct past mistakes, plan with vision, and to produce qualitative Nigerians such as those people who had contributed to the development of the Legal and Educational Systems of other countries. The first step towards realizing this objective would of course be to give the right education. // Dr Waziri Junaid another eminent scholar who gave a lecture as part of the same award ceremonies in 1979 said such education must be “any type of training aimed at the balanced growth of the total personality of man through the training of Man’s spirit, intellect, rational self, feelings and bodily senses. Although Dr. Junaid canvassed all round education comprising spiritual as well as secular education, the focus of the organizers of this conference was education such ‘genre’ that would produce the caliber of men and women which Elias referred to in his lecture. It is in the light of this that the role of the National Open University of Nigeria is being considered as a catalyst for growth and development in Nigeria. // The topic of this paper encompasses issues such as how education has been or has not been a catalyst for development in the context of Nigeria as well as how education is enabling or limited in being such a catalyst. Given this wide breadth, it will be impossible to discuss all the issues and perspectives entailed. Thus, we state at the onset that the main thrust of this paper is to analyse how access to education has been used in Nigeria to influence social, economic aspects of society for human development. // The paper starts off with an examination of the concepts of open education and human development. It follows on this with an examination of issues in the socio-economic and health spheres in relation to human development and in doing this, addresses the role of law. Specifically, it case studies, education, labour and employment as well as the environment and highlights the contexts of marginalized and vulnerable groups of society. // Paper ID 606